A so­phis­ti­cated fem­i­nin­ity

At­ten­dees flaunted a spirit of so­phis­ti­cated fem­i­nin­ity on the red car­pet

Los Angeles Times - - CALENDAR - By Erin Weinger

The evening’s fash­ion trend ref lected em­pow­er­ment as well as com­fort.

Modern red-car­pet watch­ers can al­most play a drink­ing game to the tropes of­ten dis­played dur­ing each awards sea­son, year af­ter year (out­landish meat or safety pin or credit card dresses or an overt po­lit­i­cal state­ment — check). And that’s why the Grammy Awards typ­i­cally pro­vide a sar­to­rial re­prieve from the monotony, giv­ing ob­servers the op­por­tu­nity to wit­ness the ahead-of-the-curve cre­ativ­ity and un­flinch­ing spirit that can only be served by a mu­si­cian.

Al­though the style Sun­day felt slightly safer than years past (with a few no­table ex­cep­tions — Cardi B), it also kind of worked as a some­what in­of­fen­sive safe haven set against the world’s cur­rent mood. And, in a con­trast to last year’s #MeToo launch set­ting a more somber sar­to­rial tone, this Gram­mys red car­pet showed off a new brand of so­phis­ti­cated, flaunt­ing-it fem­i­nin­ity that felt per­fectly right on time.

There was trusty and com­fort­ing nos­tal­gia that ran deep in a va­ri­ety of ways — from the smooth, sher­bet-hued blaz­ers worn by a yacht-rock-ready Weezer (which nearly matched the al­bum art on its new col­lec­tion of mostly ’80s cov­ers); the circa-1990 “Pretty Woman”-ap­pro­pri­ate clav­i­cle-skim­ming di­a­mond neck­laces seen on host Ali­cia Keys, Ella Mai, Dua Lipa (in Bul­gari) and dou­blewin­ner Lady Gaga (in Tif­fany & Co.); and the pro­fu­sion of se­quins, strong shoul­ders and ruf­fles that re­mind of (or, per­haps, cel­e­brate) the Rea­gan era’s end.

Fes­tive bead­ing and se­quins, which were spot­ted on Camila Ca­bello (in cus­tom ma­genta Ar­mani Privé), again on Lady Gaga (in cus­tom Ce­line) and Lipa, with tones rang­ing from some­thing that could have fit into “Casino’s” cos­tume de­part­ment to a modern up­date on a mother-of-the-bride en­sem­ble at a black-tie ho­tel ball­room wed­ding.

How­ever, the big­gest mo­ment of the night be­longed to Michelle Obama, who helped open the show in a cus­tom un­struc­tured Sachin & Babi se­quin suit. Stand­ing next to Keys, Jada Pin­kett Smith, J.Lo and Gaga, the for­mer first lady and best­selling author talked about the com­mon­al­ity of mu­sic be­fore Keys, in her sec­ond out­fit — which included a Pucci head­scarf — seemed awestruck of her as­sem­bled girl group. (“Who runs the world?” Keys asked, re­fer­ring to the iconic Bey­oncé lyric.)

In­stead of last year’s more de­mure and con­ser­va­tive show­ing of suits and slightly less-struc­tured frocks, this sea­son brought sexy back in a way that felt pow­er­ful, strong, modern and in step with the times.

Not ev­ery look served a plung­ing V or an up-to-there side slit — though there was no short­age of ei­ther, with Tori Kelly opt­ing for a black Paule Ka gown that put her left leg on par with An­gelina Jolie’s right one. Janelle Monáe stayed true to her brand of style with a sculp­tural Jean Paul Gaultier Cou­ture dress that showed skin but with two ra­zor­sharp shoul­ders ris­ing like talons.

Coun­try mu­sic dar­ling Margo Price, who has come un­der fire within her fan base for her left-lean­ing view­points, walked the car­pet preg­nant. She, too, proudly dis­played her gams while wear­ing a ro­man­tic red gown by Los An­ge­les-based de­signer Kim­berly Parker.

Sexy came out in ways other than skin — with Mi­ley Cyrus pro­vid­ing the first ex­cit­ing up­date to the femme tuxedo in ages with a satin-pan­eled Mu­gler pre-fall ’19 piece that cre­ated a strong and sexy sil­hou­ette through an un­likely combo — an over­size jacket and cropped flared trousers. Most of the women of coun­try opted for soft, so­phis­ti­cated en­sem­bles that felt very Old Hollywood — espe­cially Kacey Mus­graves in a blush and red tulle Valentino cou­ture con­fec­tion. Her look felt about as far away from the stereo­types of Nashville as could be.

There was a sea of strong red dresses from Keys; Bebe Rexha, who made head­lines af­ter post­ing a video say­ing that no one would dress her size 8 fig­ure for the event (she ended up in Mon­soori); and trib­ute re­cip­i­ent Dolly Par­ton. But an un­likely color story emerged — pink.

This light pink felt in­ter­est­ing in this time of gen­der flu­id­ity. This pink also felt strong with Kylie Jen­ner’s fu­tur­is­tic Bal­main suit; Katy Perry’s cou­ture metal­lic bub­ble skirt num­ber also by the French house; and — the evening’s theatri­cal pièce de ré­sis­tance — Cardi B emerg­ing from a pink and black 1995era Mu­gler shell a la Venus.

The the­matic takeaway? “We’re in such a fun time of ev­ery­one ac­cept­ing and ap­pre­ci­at­ing each other for what they are and who they are,” said stylist M.E. Clark, who, along with her styling part­ner Ryann Red­man, dressed Margo Price for the evening. “Peo­ple are wear­ing things that they want.” That em­pow­er­ment is com­fort in it­self.

Pho­to­graphs by Mar­cus Yam Los An­ge­les Times

CARDI B ar­rives at the Grammy Awards in a 1995-era Thierry Mu­gler dress that was one of the night’s pink out­fits.

LEON BRIDGES wears a trib­ute to his home state of Texas on the red car­pet, where he learned he won an award.

MARGO PRICE, ex­pect­ing a child, wears a ro­man­tic red gown by Los An­ge­les-based de­signer Kim­berly Parker.

LADY GAGA wears cus­tom Cé­line with a high leg slit on the red car­pet be­fore chang­ing for a per­for­mance.

JEN­NIFER LOPEZ ar­rives in an em­bel­lished high-necked Ralph & Russo gown from the spring line.

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